How to run Windows 11 on an Intel or M1 Mac

Parallels 17 for Mac makes it easy to run Windows 11 on an Intel or M1 Mac with a seamless virtual machine. On an Intel Mac, you can easily run your favorite Windows programs alongside Mac apps. How to set it up.

Why use Parallels?

Parallels is a virtual machine program, which means it runs a separate operating system within a simulated computer (called a virtual machine) on your Mac. With Parallels, you can run Windows apps alongside Mac apps in a mode called Coherence, or you can easily go to a Windows desktop to work with your Mac files in Windows apps.

This is in contrast to Boot Camp, which requires Windows to be installed on a separate partition on your Mac’s SSD or hard drive. With Boot Camp, you can only use one operating system at a time – either Mac or PC, not both – and toggling between the two operating systems requires a reboot. Unlike Boot Camp, Parallels makes the transition between Windows and Mac more flexible and fluid.

What you will need

Parallels 17 supports Windows 11 on macOS Catalina, Big Sur, and Monterey. The home version of the app is $ 80, but if you already have an older version, you can upgrade for $ 50. Or you can try Parallels with a free trial for a period of time. Search the Parallels website to get the version you need.

You also need a license for Windows 11, which you can purchase from Microsoft after installing the operating system. In the case of Intel Macs, it’s easy to download the Windows 11 ISO for free from Microsoft’s website.

To install Windows 11 on an M1 Mac, you’ll need to download a preview build for Windows 11 on ARM from Microsoft starting November 2021. To do this, you need a Microsoft account that is registered with the Windows Insider Program. M1 Macs cannot run the Intel version of Windows 11 in Parallels.

Here’s how to get the Windows 11 preview on your PC

How to install Windows 11 in Parallels on Mac

First you have to Download and install Parallels 17 or higher on your Mac. During the installation process, make sure that you allow Parallels Desktop to access your Mac’s Desktop, Documents, and Downloads folders in order for them to function properly.

Next, if you’re using an Intel Mac, Download the Windows 11 ISO from the Microsoft website. On the download page, find the “Download Windows 11 Disk Image (ISO)” section, select “Windows 11” from the drop-down menu, then click “Download”.

If you are using an M1 Mac, you will not be able to use the Intel (x64) version of Windows 11. You have to instead Register for the Windows Insider Program, then download a copy of. down Windows client ARM64 Insider Previewcontained in a VHDX disk image file.

Download the ARM64 Windows 11 Insider Preview.

Once you have the operating system image you need, open the Parallels app. On an M1 Mac, double-click the VHDX file you just downloaded and follow the on-screen instructions in Parallels to install Windows 11. Some of the steps are similar to the Intel installation process described below.

On an Intel Mac, open the installation wizard and choose Install Windows or another operating system from a DVD or image file and click Next.

In Parallels, select “Install Windows or another operating system from a DVD or image file” and click “Next”.

Parallels will automatically find the Windows 11 ISO on your Mac. Select it from the list and click “Next”.

Select the Windows 11 ISO and click

Next, Parallels will ask you for a Windows license key. If you have one, now is the time to enter it. If not, uncheck the “Enter Windows license key for faster installation ”and click on“ Next ”.

If you don't have a license key, uncheck the box and click "Keep going."

The standard Windows 11 ISO contains installation information for many different editions of Windows 11. Select the one you want to install from the drop-down menu (for example, “Windows 11 Home” or “Windows 11 Pro”) and click “Next” “. Remember that each edition has its own price, which comes into play when you buy a Windows 11 license later.

Select a Windows 11 edition from the drop-down menu and click

Next, Parallels asks if you will be using Windows primarily for productivity or gaming. Select the one that suits your needs and click Next.


Windows 11 installation begins. Parallels will handle this for you and you will see the progress in a small virtual machine window on your Mac.

Windows 11 is being installed.

When the installation process completes on both M1 and Intel Macs, you will see an “Installation Complete” message. Click in the window to continue.

When you get the message

At this point, if you are using a trial version of Parallels, the app will prompt you to register a Parallels account. Otherwise, you’ll see the Windows 11 desktop and you’re good to go.

A Windows 11 desktop that can be seen in Parallels on Mac.

To switch to seamless mode, where you can use Windows and Mac apps side by side, focus on the window “Windows 11” and select View> Enter Consistency in the menu bar. Or you can press Ctrl + Command + C on your keyboard.

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To exit Coherence mode later, click the Windows logo icon in your Dock and select View> Exit Consistency in the menu bar. Or you can press Ctrl + Command + C again.

When you’re ready to buy a Windows 11 license, run the Settings app in Windows 11 and click System in the sidebar. Click Activate Now, then Open Store, and you can buy a Windows license from the Microsoft Store. Good luck and have fun doing arithmetic!

You don’t need a product key to install and use Windows 10

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